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  1. #1
    WALMART
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    Default Existential Nihilism

    Today I have brushed upon the subject with several members here on the forum.



    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Existential_nihilism



    Use this thread to feed me knowle... I mean, talk about the subject.

  2. #2
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    I'll go first.


    I came across the term independently. To me, to be an existential nihilist means that life holds no intrinsic objective value, yet we all exist. I exist, you reading this exists, so we must make what we can of it, whatever that may be.

    Also, I acknowledge existence may or may not be temporary, so I want to better the existence for all the worthless peoples out there in some way, however that may be. I haven't really done anything to do so, though, usually because my nihilism gets a hold of me personally.



    Perhaps you feel I am using the term nihilism too loosely?

  3. #3
    Mojibake sprinkles's Avatar
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    Problem with nihilism is that it's a word that has several totally unrelated definitions.

    Even in philosophical circles it has about 3 to 5 different connotations. In common usage it probably has about 10 or more connotations.

    But yes, existential nihilism is about lack of inherent value or purpose. This does not say that one can't construct value or purpose, because clearly we do just that - the important emphasis is on the word 'inherent', which is basically a word that means something has this property essentially, by itself. It's like saying that the thing in question is automatically and naturally born with this property, and it is objective, and not constructed or given to it. This makes it completely different from a constructed value.

    Edit:
    For example, a quarter is not inherently worth 25 cents. A quarter is just a metal disk. A dollar is a paper rectangle and also doesn't inherently have the value of a dollar. These things have constructed value but not inherent value.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sprinkles View Post
    Problem with nihilism is that it's a word that has several totally unrelated definitions.

    Even in philosophical circles it has about 3 to 5 different connotations. In common usage it probably has about 10 or more connotations.

    But yes, existential nihilism is about lack of inherent value or purpose. This does not say that one can't construct value or purpose, because clearly we do just that - the important emphasis is on the word 'inherent', which is basically a word that means something has this property essentially, by itself. It's like saying that the thing in question is automatically and naturally born with this property, and it is objective, and not constructed or given to it. This makes it completely different from a constructed value.

    Edit:
    For example, a quarter is not inherently worth 25 cents. A quarter is just a metal disk. A dollar is a paper rectangle and also doesn't inherently have the value of a dollar. These things have constructed value but not inherent value.

    Yes, this is why I desire to talk about it. I want to know everyone's objective opinion, to give structure to mine or to lend structure to theirs.


    Where does it stop being nihilism and where does it start becoming something else entirely? As soon as you realize some actions have purpose to another existing being?

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    Mojibake sprinkles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jontherobot View Post
    Yes, this is why I desire to talk about it. I want to know everyone's objective opinion, to give structure to mine or to lend structure to theirs.


    Where does it stop being nihilism and where does it start becoming something else entirely? As soon as you realize some actions have purpose to another existing being?
    I think some of the cases are when someone says "Rules aren't objective so therefore I refuse to have any" which is just called anarchy.

    Or when they say "nothing has any purpose so therefore I'm not going to do anything" which is just apathy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sprinkles View Post
    I think some of the cases are when someone says "Rules aren't objective so therefore I refuse to have any" which is just called anarchy.

    Or when they say "nothing has any purpose so therefore I'm not going to do anything" which is just apathy.

    So when does one truly become nihilistic? When they off themselves because of it?


    Perhaps it is too difficult to define.

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    Mojibake sprinkles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jontherobot View Post
    So when does one truly become nihilistic? When they off themselves because of it?


    Perhaps it is too difficult to define.
    Why would anyone want to do that?

    To me it's just recognizing something. How someone handles it after the recognition is a different matter.

    It's like seeing that a lake has water in it. Unto itself it is merely an observation, and not really any kind of value judgement. Maybe after observing that the lake has water, you'll want a boat to cross it. Or maybe you'll want to do some fishing. Or maybe you recognize that it is just so, and leave it.

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    Senior Member Nicodemus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sprinkles View Post
    To me it's just recognizing something. How someone handles it after the recognition is a different matter.

    It's like seeing that a lake has water in it. Unto itself it is merely an observation, and not really any kind of value judgement. Maybe after observing that the lake has water, you'll want a boat to cross it. Or maybe you'll want to do some fishing. Or maybe you recognize that it is just so, and leave it.
    Well said.

    On the internet I have repeatedly encountered phrases like 'I feel nihilistic' or 'That was totally nihilistic', suggesting that people think of it as an emotional state (more or less of depression). It is true that depression produces thoughts that are semantically in line with nihilistic positions and even that, when a depression hits, it is likely to latch on to previously existing nihilistic opinions, but in and of itself nihilism is not a feeling. Existential nihilism is really just the most reasonable position to hold in regards to value and meaning.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by sprinkles View Post
    To me it's just recognizing something. How someone handles it after the recognition is a different matter.

    It's like seeing that a lake has water in it. Unto itself it is merely an observation, and not really any kind of value judgement. Maybe after observing that the lake has water, you'll want a boat to cross it. Or maybe you'll want to do some fishing. Or maybe you recognize that it is just so, and leave it.

    Yes, very interesting.


    So just to recognize things have no objective value... action need not be taken. Hm.

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